JM: Mikey! My boy! Before we dive in, give the readers some background information about you. Tell the people whats up!
MW: Whats up, I’m Michael Wolfe! I’m a 28 year old producer/mix engineer hailing from North Country San Diego! Besides helping my homies craft some prime tunes, I’m also really into motion pictures, attempting to write some screenplays, mind bending science, and cannabis.
JM: Ah, a man of many interests! I’m interested to know about your musical background as an artist. I remember talking to you once and you said you were in a metal band at one point in your life?
MW: Yeah, so I actually got my start playing metal back in the day, picked up the guitar when I was around 13, then joined my first serious local band when I was 16. Couple years after that, myself and my best friends formed our own metalcore band To Each His Own, which went on to tour the US for about 3 years consecutively, played SXSW all three years and made a bunch of friends and fans across the states. It was some of the best times, different city every day with your best friends, making music, causing a ruckus. But sadly after a good stint the metal scene started to die off and things had to come to and end. Luckily I was working on my production skills throughout those years and had gained a solid skill to embark on a new musical journey.
JM: Woah! That sounds like quite the journey there, Michael. You’ve experienced so much and you know what they say, “experience is the father of learning”. With that being said, tell us about your new label WolfeDen Productions and what it means to you.
JM: WDP represent!!! It’s interesting how everything takes its course with this music shit man. What instruments do you play? What technology do you use to engineer and produce?
MW: I can play guitar and bass pretty decently, and I know my way around a piano, but I always like to say I know how to play the computer as well! I mainly work in Ableton for all of my production needs but then when it comes time for a vocal mix Im more than likely going to switch into Logic. I’ve just become more accustomed to working in it, and developing my workflow there. Some of my favorite VST’s are Xfer records SERUM, I love all of the Spitfire Audio orchestral suites, and pretty much everything Native Instruments makes.
JM: Well, with that all being said Mikey, what about producing and engineering other people’s tracks brings you the most joy? What about it brings you the most complications?
MW: For producing I really enjoy the aspect of getting a hollow guideline and then filling in the blanks with my personal taste while integrating the artists vision and passion into the final product.
For mix engineering I love trimming the fat of a song (EQ wise) and finding subtle ways to sneak in some effect ear candy, while really just making sure the song is driving sonically and taking the listeners along for the ride. Nothing better than that first listen through and having all those ideas pop into your head.
JM: Producing/Mixing is definitely a process so that’s cool it doesn’t drive you mad after a while! What’s one of the most difficult factors of mixing and producing for you? How do you over come the obstacles?
MW: Some of the difficult factors in my producing life is that I love crafting the music and the melodies but keeping up with what plugins sound good or outdated sometimes escapes me especially with all these genres mixing together. I’m a sucker for some old school sounding synths, but a lot of the time they are not working for a mainstream pop or hip hop track. To overcome this obstacle I’ve found its all about experimentation and just testing out any and all ideas.
Theres many different variables in the mixing process that could be determined difficult but its all apart of the job. Most common fixes though are just cleaning up recordings that may not have been recorded on the best mic or have a lot of room noise, sometimes it gets rough working with a beat I don’t have stems for because I can envision the beat knocking harder or having more space, but then that also inspires me to get creative and solve the problem with the tools I do have available.
JM: Speaking of the mixing and engineering aspects of your music, how did you approach mixing down my track “Toxic Box” in particular?
MW: “Toxic Box” was an immensely fun track to mix due to the sheer energy that you brought on the vocal and performance. After first listen I started to think almost in terms of a metal song, that snarling vocal needed to be in your face, the drums and bass need to be monstrous underneath that, and then sprinkle in some cool reverses and delays to get some atmosphere going on. It was definitely a super collaborative process and you’re there every step of the way with precise notes that really, really help the process move and come together smoothly.
JM: You’re too kind good sir. You definitely have just as much talent for bringing my musician visions to life. Is there anything juicy you’re currently working on outside of Unify Collective music?
MW: As of right now I’m super excited to be working with you on the rest of your EP crafting some really cool genre bending songs, getting back to my metal roots, and as well as doing some freelance mixing and mastering while always keeping up work on my instrumentalism.
JM: Wrapping up this great interview my brother, tell the people where they can reach out to you for a mix, a riff, or a WolfeDen Production.
Thank you so much to the Unify Collective crew for always providing the best vibes and inspiration, even during these craziest of times I can always count on you guys to be pushing the boundary of creativity and really utilizing all of your passion. Excited to see what the future has in store.